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Labor Staffer Charged With Making Child Porn Was Also A Former Catholic Priest

A Labor branch secretary in Sydney's south-west -- who is in custody charged with making and importing child pornography -- was also a former Catholic priest.

Peter Hansen was arrested at Sydney Airport in October, and charged with producing child pornography in Asia and importing child exploitation material.

The 61-year-old was the Labor branch secretary of Cabramatta until his membership was suspended on Monday.

Despite his arrest several months ago, the case was subject to a suppression order, which was lifted on Monday.

On Tuesday, Labor leader Michael Daley said he just found out about the allegations against Hansen but declined to comment.

"It's before the court and I should be very careful what I say," he told journalists.

In addition to his work with the Labor party, Hansen was formerly the parish priest of Craigieburn in Melbourne.

The Archdiocese of Melbourne told 10 daily Hansen was a priest until he resigned from the ministry in 2011.

Photo posted on Hansen's Facebook page. IMAGE: supplied

The spokesperson did not provide further comment on the conditions or nature of his departure but said the Archdiocese is doing some investigating.

According to his Linkedin account, Hansen was the founder of the Mary of the Cross Centre in 2000.

The Melbourne-based centre provided support for victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

Hansen also obtained a bachelor of theology from the Catholic Theological College in Melbourne  -- where he lectured for a decade.

An Archdiocese of Melbourne Newsletter from the late 1990s. Image: supplied

Hansen is fluent in Vietnamese and his Facebook page shows several visits to Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The local ALP branch where he worked has the highest proportion of Vietnamese speakers in Australia.

Hansen travelling in Asia. IMAGE: Supplied

Hansen will face a bail hearing in the NSW Supreme Court later this month.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au